Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck, sustained when the head is jerked suddenly back and forth, most commonly in a car accident. Although it can be painful and debilitating, it’s normally a relatively minor injury which heals within a few weeks or months. Whiplash can normally be treated at home, and you should be able to go back to work fairly quickly. If your accident was caused by somebody else, then you may find yourself wondering not only if you can make a claim for compensation, but also what the average settlement for whiplash is. Accident Advice Helpline can help you to make a claim, and we can also answer any questions you have about the claims process.
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
The symptoms of whiplash usually include a stiff neck that is tender and painful to move, muscle spasms, difficulty moving your head, pain in your arms and shoulders and headaches. Occasionally you may suffer from other symptoms too, and the most common ones are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Feeling tired
- Pins and needles in your hands and arms
Most people start to recover within a few weeks, but sometimes symptoms can persist for months. It all depends on the severity of your injuries, but you may find you need to take some time off work, which can affect your earnings. You may also have suffered other injuries as well as whiplash after a road traffic accident.
Treatment for whiplash usually takes place at home, and a neck brace is rarely recommended as it’s important to keep the neck mobile. Icing your neck for the first two to three days after an accident can really help to relieve pain and swelling. It’s recommended to ice it for around 15 minutes every three to four hours, but do make sure that you wrap the ice pack or frozen peas in a cloth, to prevent burning your skin. You can also take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, and if your pain is severe then your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers. Once your neck is feeling a little better, you may be given exercises to carry out at home that can help to keep your neck mobile and speed the recovery process.
Can recovery time affect the average settlement for whiplash?
Did you know that your expectations of recovery actually count when it comes to the time you take to recover after an accident? According to research carried out at the Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, the attitude you take towards your recovery can impact recovery time. In a study of over 1,000 whiplash claimants, they found that those who felt initially they wouldn’t recover fully were more than four times as likely to be in the group of participants still suffering from pain after six months, rather than those who has a more positive outlook for their recovery.
The time taken to heal from whiplash injuries can vary greatly, and according to a study by Accident Analysis and Prevention 2002 (the longest-running study of its kind on whiplash patients), over 50% of those who have suffered a whiplash injury will be dealing with chronic pain almost 20 years after their accident. The average settlement for whiplash can vary as there are a number of different factors to take into account when making a claim. For instance, the severity of your injuries, the impact they have had on your life, the length of the recovery period and any treatment you have needed to make a full recovery. These can all affect your settlement, which is why it is hard to say what the average settlement for whiplash is.
How common are whiplash claims?
Whiplash claims are astonishingly common – in fact there are over 1,500 claims made in the UK every day, which is costing the insurance industry over £2 billion a year. In 2016, the government put in place plans to crack down on the number of whiplash claims made each year, by putting in place a controversial cap on the average settlement for whiplash, meaning it should be harder for those with minor whiplash injuries to claim huge settlements, in theory. Yet because whiplash is still by far the most common injury sustained in road traffic accidents, there will always be people claiming compensation for this type of injury. If your accident was caused by another driver’s negligence then you are perfectly within your rights to make a personal injury claim.
Accident Advice Helpline’s approach to whiplash claims
Although we can’t tell you exactly what the average settlement for whiplash is, you can use the 30-second test on our website to get an idea of how much compensation you could be entitled to claim. There may not be an average settlement for whiplash, as every claim is handled individually, but by having an idea of what you could be entitled to, you may be better able to make a decision about whether or not to proceed with a claim. You can give Accident Advice Helpline a call on 0800 689 0500 (or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile) to find out more about what’s involved in making a claim and get advice from our expert team. We have been helping people claim compensation for over 16 years, so you know you will get the very best advice and support from us.
What’s more, you don’t need to worry about how you will afford legal fees. You’ve probably taken some time off work after your road traffic accident, and we know that finances can be tight at this time. That’s why our lawyers work on a 100% no-win, no-fee basis, so there are no fees to pay at all unless your claim is successful. Just don’t wait too long to get in touch with us, as there is a three-year time limit in place for all personal injury claims, and it’s only possible to make a claim after this period has passed in exceptional circumstances.
Date Published: 7th August 2013
Author: David Brown